USC Will Use Bye Week To Rest Up, Re-Establish Defense

The Trojans are favored by 13.5 points against the Wildcats. Is that too much or just right?

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USC Will Use Bye Week To Rest Up, Re-Establish Defense

The USC Trojans enter their bye week with a respectable 4-1 record and a 2-1 record in the Pac-12. The team has won all but one of its games, but there is concern around the program with regards to the defense. This week's break should give the players some time to rest up and return with energy to begin its second slate of games.

Over the past two weeks, USC has given up an average of 42.0 points to the two Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State). The Trojans cannot afford to give up that many points while still pulling out victories this season, and they will need to tighten things up with prolific scoring teams Stanford (seventh-best scoring offense in the country) and Oregon (best scoring offense in the country) on the docket later in the year.

This week should allow the defense to recover from the season's first five weeks and return with fresh legs. The bye week also provides time for the Trojans to step back and examine what needs to be improved on. In a sport where teams are on the field every weekend, a two-week break could give USC the time it needs to right the ship and start piecing together a run of victories.

The Trojans return to action on Oct. 13th at Cal, and USC follows up with two big tests at Notre Dame and against Stanford. The true measure of how much the bye week ultimately helps the Trojans will be determined by their performance during this three-game stretch.

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Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald Receive Awards In Aftermath Of Arizona Win

The USC Trojans secured an important 48-41 win over the Arizona Wildcats last Saturday. With the victory, the Trojans successfully rebounded from a 43-22 road loss at Arizona State and gave themselves a respectable 4-1 record heading into their bye week. Quarterback Matt Barkley and safety T.J. McDonald received awards for their big roles in Saturday's win, according to a Michael Lev of the Orange County Register.

Barkley set a USC school record by passing for 468 yards, completing 32 of his 39 passes with four touchdowns and only one pick en route to his massive total. His passing proficiency helped keep the Wildcats just far enough off the lead throughout Saturday's shootout, and he has deservingly been named this week's Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.

McDonald played a crucial role in the first quarter of the Arizona game, picking off Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles twice in the game's opening quarter and helping USC establish an early 17-0 lead. Foles hadn't thrown a pick all season, but McDonald changed that quickly in the game's opening 15 minutes. McDonald has been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week. McDonald also secured an onside kick.

Those are nice pick-ups for Barkley and McDonald, giving the team some positive momentum as it heads into its bye week. The Trojans will resume play in two weeks when they travel to Cal and take on the Golden Bears on Oct. 13th.

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USC Vs. Arizona: Barkley, Woods Lead Trojans Past Rallying Wildcats, 48-41

Matt Barkley completed 32 of his 39 passing attempts, passing for a now USC record 468 yards, and tossed four touchdowns to help lead the Trojans past the Arizona Wildcats, 48-41.

The game was not pretty on the defensive side for USC as they allowed Nick Foles and the Arizona offense have 554 yards on offense, most against the Trojans this season. But in the end, USC’s offense proved to be the difference as they destroyed Arizona’s defense accumulating 582 yards on total offense.

Robert Woods led the high-scoring Trojan offense catching 14 receptions from Barkley for 255 yards and two touchdowns. The USC record for most receiving yards in a game was 260 by Jay Soward in 1996.

Woods now has 747 receiving yards for the season and has had 100+ receiving yards in a game four of the five games he’s played.

The game was seemingly over in the third quarter when USC’s opening drive to begin the second half resulted in a Barkley-Woods touchdown 22 yard touchdown pass that put the Trojans ahead 34-12.

However, Foles completed 12 of his 13 passes in the third quarter and tossed two touchdowns as he cut into USC’s large lead to a touchdown by the end of the quarter.

With the Trojans defense collapsing, the offense kept rolling on the Wildcats defense with fourth quarter touchdowns by Barkley, from a 46-yard pass to Lee to set up the touchdown, and Curtis McNeal, who ran it in from nine yards.

The Wildcats kept it close with a minute remaining after scoring a touchdown to close the game at 48-41, but TJ McDonald caught the onside kick attempt to secure the Trojans their fourth victory of the season.

NEXT: USC will have its bye-week next week and will face the California Golden Bears at AT&T Park On Friday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m PT.

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USC Vs. Arizona Recap: Matt Barkley Sets USC Passing Record, Trojans Win Shootout 48-41

The USC Trojans and Arizona Wildcats played a game that featured over 1,000 yards of offense (1,136 yards, to be exact) and a baffling 13 touchdowns. In the end, the Trojans came away with a 48-41 victory behind the arm of quarterback Matt Barkley, who set a USC passing record with 468 passing yards.

The Trojans came out with a fast start, taking a 17-0 lead by the end of the first quarter by virtue of two huge touchdown passes by Barkley (an 82-yard pass to Robert Woods and a 38-yard pass to Marquise Lee). The Wildcats, though, responded with two touchdown passes of their own in the second quarter to enter halftime down just 27-12.

Both teams traded touchdowns the rest of the way with Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles and Barkley going toe-to-toe as they led their respective teams down the field. Seven touchdowns were scored in the game's final half as the Wildcats repeatedly drew within seven points after each score, only to watch the Trojans go up by 14 one drive later.

The Wildcats got one last shot at the game when they went for an onside kick with a 48-41 deficit and 1:00 left in the game. USC's Tim McDonald, who made big waves in the first quarter with two picks of Foles, came down with the pass to secure the Trojan victory.

Barkley passed for a USC-record 468 yards with four touchdowns and one pick on 32-of-39 passing. Woods almost set a USC record of his own, racking up 255 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 14 receptions and falling just five yards short of Rodney Jay Soward's record 260 receiving yards back in 1996.

The Trojans are now 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in Pac-12 play. USC plays Cal in two weeks on the road.

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USC Vs. Arizona Score Update: Robert Woods Plays Big, Trojans Lead 17-0

The USC Trojans lead the Arizona Wildcats 17-0 after one quarter. Though Arizona received the kickoff, the Trojans have forced turnovers and defense and responded with big touchdown plays through the air.

The Trojans stopped Arizona's first drive after a few passes by Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles and then went right to work with their talented tandem of quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods. Barkley hit Woods on a quick pass, which Woods proceeded to take 82 yards to the house for an early score.

USC kept the pressure on the Wildcats throughout the quarter, with Tim McDonald picking off Foles on the next drive for Foles' first pick of the 2011 season. The Trojans marched into the red zone and punched in a field goal to go up 10-0.

McDonald was not done, though. He picked off Foles for a second straight time on Arizona's next drive to give USC the ball at the Arizona 40-yard line. Barkley connected with Marquise Lee on a 38-yard strike to push USC's lead up even further just before the end of the first quarter.

The Wildcats will have the ball to start the second quarter and will need to respond with a score in order to keep the game in check. The Trojans defense will atempt to stop them from doing just that.

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USC Vs Arizona: TV Schedule, Start Time, Radio Information, & Notes

Here's what you need to know about Saturday's game between USC and Arizona. 

Teams: USC Trojans (3-1) Vs Arizona Wildcats (1-3)

Kickoff: 3:30 EDT / 12:30 PST

Venue: Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles CA (92,000 capacity)

Series Record: USC leads the all-time series 27-7

Last Meeting: USC 24-21 last season.

Last Week: USC lost at Arizona State 43-22; Arizona lost to Oregon 56-31.

Television Coverage: National coverage by Fox Sports Net. Check your local listings.

Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM Tuscon, Sirius 139, XM 193 Arizona; ESPN Radio 710 AM KSPN Los Angeles

Notes: Arizona put up 480 total yards last week in a losing effort. QB Nick Foles went 34 for 57 for 398 yards and 3 touchdowns to no interceptions. Their defense hasn't fared quite as well -- and opponents are scoring 35.0 points per game this season.

USC is averaging 25.5 points per game and 422.5 yards a game. QB Matt Barkley has passed for 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns to three interceptions with a 67.8% completion percentage. The Trojans' defense is giving up 22.8 points a game and 336 yards per game.

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George Farmer To Redshirt, Future USC Football RB?

George Farmer hasn't made the instant impact that Robert Woods did as a true freshman, so it makes sense that the USC Trojans coaching staff would hold off on utilizing him this season. USC is stacked in the receiving corps, and there's no reason to push Farmer when he isn't ready.

The most interesting news is that after he redshirts this season, Farmer might be a running back in 2012. Say what now Lane? Michael Lev of the Orange County Register reports.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Farmer has been working at running back in individual drills. The product of Serra High of Gardena has played quarterback, tailback and receiver for the scout team. Coach Lane Kiffin said Farmer has looked "great" at tailback and could have a bright future there.

"That would give us a big, physical guy (and) one of the fastest guys in the country," Kiffin said. "As we look at that position, we’re still lacking in game-breaking speed back there."

This would be some intriguing experimentation. Farmer didn't play much as a running back in college, and he seems a little too tall and lanky to handle confined spaces as a tailback. If you watch Farmer's video, you can tell he works best on the outside and at the edges. Could Kiffin be considering him as a Reggie Bush-type player, someone who can work well as a pass-catching option out of the backfield to spread defenses out?

On the surface, it looks like another strange decision from the USC head coach. Farmer better look pretty good next season.

For more on USC football, head to Conquest Chronicles.

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USC vs. Arizona: Trojans Set To Face Battered And Beaten Wildcats

The USC Trojans are catching the Arizona Wildcats at the right time. This is not a very good team at the moment.

It all starts on the defensive side of the ball for the 'Cats from Tucson. While the unit was projected to play well, that was before nearly half of the starters went down to injuries. Linebacker Jack Fischer, cornerback Jonathan McKnight, and safety Adam Hall all suffered a torn ACL in training camp. While there is a chance Hall will play a few snaps this week, do not expect him to start or play as he is capable of. Neither Fischer nor McKnight will play.

In addition to these three players, defensive tackle Justin Washington, who many projected as an NFL lineman one day, has lost a ton of weight and has since lost his starting spot. Senior safety Robert Goldin has also battled nagging injuries throughout his career and has been banged up a time or two in 2011.

Combine these losses with losing two players to the NFL and a few others to graduation and it is easy to see why Arizona gave up 130 points to Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon. 

The other concern for UA is the health of their playmakers on offense. Juron Criner, Dan Buckner and Austin Hill all sustained injuries (or continued to suffer from preexisting ones) against Oregon and are listed as questionable for Saturday's matchup. While it remains to be seen if any of the three will play, none of them will be at full-strength.

After a tough loss on the road to Arizona State, it is tough to imagine the Trojans struggling against Arizona this weekend. Expect a double-digit victory.

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Lane Kiffin Talks About Practice, Recruiting Incident At Tennessee

Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans have had a rough few days. On Saturday, the Trojans took a 43-22 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. On Monday, news came out about a recruiting violation that took place by then-Tennessee coach Willie Mack Garza during Kiffin's tenure as head coach. Kiffin addressed both of these topics on Tuesday in an interview with reporters post-practice.

About practice in general this week, Kiffin said that there was a, "good reaction to not playing well in the fourth quarter (against Arizona State)." The players are showing some fight after their first real adversity of the season, and Kiffin likes what he sees. USC still has a shot to move to 4-1 ahead of its bye week next weekend. The team only has to take care of business against an Arizona Wildcats squad that has been dominated by three Top 10 opponents over the last few weeks.

Things got a little murky in the latter part of of the interview as Kiffin addressed the Tennessee violation: "Yeah, I did read that. All I can say on that, is that the alleged incident I had no knowledge of or knowledge or relationship of at all." He continued giving some variation of that response to all questions related to the investigation, including to one about whether or not the NCAA has started investigation Kiffin for the violation.

That would be bad news for Kiffin and USC, a school that is all too familiar with football infractions over the past few years. Of course, USC would not deal with any type of violation since the infraction occurred at Tennessee, but it would reflect poorly on USC if the team's head coach is being investigated for football misdealings of any kind.

That's not on Kiffin's mind right now, though. He concluded the interview with one phrase that perfectly sums up his team's stance for Saturday's match-up against the Wildcats. "There's no excuses anymore."

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USC Vs. Arizona: Trojans Favored By 13.5 Points Over Wildcats

The Trojans are favored by 13.5 points against the Wildcats. Is that too much or just right?

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